Review: Forever & Always (#1, The Ever Trilogy) by Jasinda Wilder - Vilma Iris | Lifestyle Blogger

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Review: Forever & Always (#1, The Ever Trilogy) by Jasinda Wilder

My Thoughts

Achingly raw. Deeply heartfelt. Simultaneously tragic and hopeful.
A powerful story of two young people coming of age under heartbreaking circumstances, grasping on to each other as they try to endure the pain that life continues to throw at them.

5stars

Synopsis

forever and alwaysEver,

These letters are often all that get me through week to week. Even if it’s just random stuff, nothing important, they’re important to me. Gramps is great, and I love working on the ranch. But…I’m lonely. I feel disconnected, like I’m no one, like I don’t belong anywhere. Like I’m just here until something else happens. I don’t even know what I want with my future. But your letters, they make me feel connected to something, to someone. I had a crush on you, when we first met. I thought you were beautiful. So beautiful. It was hard to think of anything else. Then camp ended and we never got together, and now all I have of you is these letters. S**t. I just told you I have a crush on you. HAD. Had a crush. Not sure what is anymore. A letter-crush? A literary love? That’s stupid. Sorry. I just have this rule with myself that I never throw away what I write and I always send it, so hopefully this doesn’t weird you out too much. I had a dream about you too. Same kind of thing. Us, in the darkness, together. Just us. And it was like you said, a memory turned into a dream, but a memory of something that’s never happened, but in the dream it felt so real, and it was more, I don’t even know, more RIGHT than anything I’ve ever felt, in life or in dreams. I wonder what it means that we both had the same dream about each other. Maybe nothing, maybe everything. You tell me.

Cade
~ ~ ~ ~

Cade,

We’re pen pals. Maybe that’s all we’ll ever be. I don’t know. If we met IRL (in real life, in case you’re not familiar with the term) what would happen? And just FYI, the term you used, a literary love? It was beautiful. So beautiful. That term means something, between us now. We are literary loves. Lovers? I do love you, in some strange way. Knowing about you, in these letters, knowing your hurt and your joys, it means something so important to me, that I just can’t describe. I need your art, and your letters, and your literary love. If we never have anything else between us, I need this. I do. Maybe this letter will only complicate things, but like you I have a rule that I never erase or throw away what I’ve written and I always send it, no matter what I write in the letter. 

Your literary love,

Ever

My Review

Jasinda Wilder sure knows how to pack an emotional punch. Each page bleeds emotion, heartbreak, tragedy and a deep-seated need for connection. This story is a journey. One that is fraught with the stuff of life that is rough and painful and often times ugly. Ever and Cade start as young people, 14 years old, who have experienced sadness, but that still have a life ahead of them filled with dreams and hopes and a desire to define themselves as the artists they are, as the people they want to be.

“That summer we met, Interlochen. The lake. Drawing all day. Sitting on the dock together. It was the last day of my childhood, I think. The last happy days of my life.”

Ever Eliot and Caden Monroe met at camp (Interlochen) one hopeful summer as they each chased their dreams of being artists. They met by chance, a thrust of fate, and something connected… sparked between them. From the first words exchanged, thoughts of the other persisted. Time at camp gave them an opportunity to get to know each other, and there was just a special, intangible something that put them both at ease. Their conversations, however brief, felt comfortable and meaningful. The last day, prior to departing, they weren’t able to let go of each other just yet, so they agreed to be pen pals. Friends. Friends who would write each other and tell each other things they were afraid to tell any one else. Their words carried no shame, no fear, it was simply sharing it all across the miles to someone who would understand.

“I feel like I can trust you. Maybe we understand each other, or something. Like, in some kind of way that words don’t really explain. I feel that way.”

And that’s the way Cade and Ever came to be together. That was their start. Unfortunately, it was also the beginning of growing up. Growing up too soon. Tragedy immediately befalls Caden and his world is shattered, turned upside down, never to be the same. Caden has got to be one of the most tragic characters of whom I’ve ever read. The challenges and heartbreak he has to endure would crush any normal person, but his sliver of hope…  the person he grabs onto is Ever. It’s the pouring of his deepest feelings on paper, sent across the country to a person he now relies on to assuage the tribulations of his heart and soul.

“What’s life without a little pain?” It was a philosophy I wanted to hold on to. But I’d take life without so much pain, if I could. I’d heard all the bullshit, of course: what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and how the hard times make you appreciate the good times more. I didn’t buy it. Hard times were hard, an d no amount of thinking about the good times supposedly to come would make them suck any less.”

And so it continues… for years. Through bad times and worst times, through heartache and unexpected desires, through adolescence into budding adulthood. As they grow older, they both suffer, Cade especially, and at times they drift apart, only to come back together in their deepest despondency. My heart broke over and over again for Caden. I felt I honestly couldn’t read a single word more about the pain this boy carried… the guilt, the anger, the frustration, the loneliness. It was too much.

“I also knew I’d never be the same. I felt the scars on my heart and in my mind. I’d been cut deep and the wounds would never really heal… I’d been painted by pain. Several coats of it, a deep, thick varnish that wouldn’t ever fade.”

Meanwhile, Ever also staggered through life with disappointments that marred her from the inside out and as a result, shook her confidence. She felt bereft of anything meaningful and as Cade lived his life hundreds of miles away, she couldn’t help but feel like she was losing the one person that had been everything to her, despite the very real fact that his physical presence had not materialized by her side for quite some time.

“I felt as I was missing a piece of my soul, like the memory was all that was left of a love I’d had and lost.”

When finally pain becomes too unbearable to shoulder and choices, not fate, thrust them together again, it’s a relief… an unleashing… a merging of souls… and an unshackling of emotions that for too long had desperately demanded release. It was a beautiful thing to read and I felt my heart overflow with emotion.

“This was an outpouring between us, an unleashing. It was as if a lifetime of pent-up need and imprisoned love was finally unfurling once-pinioned wings and taking flight, finding freedom in the far blue forever of the sky.”

I couldn’t help but fear for them as soon as they got together. Would it work? Was their love based on something real and tangible? Could a love born across distance be enough to substantiate the stuff that forevers were made of?

“What is this, with us?”
“I don’t know.” What words could I use?… But I knew her, and I needed her. “It’s everything. It’s –”
“That’s what I need. I need everything, Cade. I need you… your everything. Your always.”

And then, in typical Jasinda fashion, she hits us with a twist that left me broken, angry, consumed by sadness and so many other feelings I couldn’t process. My heart splintered into a million pieces.

As I said in the beginning, this book bleeds emotion. It’s raw and beautiful. It’s built on feeling and it’s incredibly poignant. I did feel the sexual encounters between them at the end were a bit too explicit for the tone of the book, but I also postulated that perhaps the rawness was a natural release of so much desire, a desperate need to be as close as possible in every which way after being apart for so long. Overall, this book is a stellar emotional achievement and I loved it. To me, this author is at her best when she bravely treads to these darker, emotional, heart-wrenching places. I warn you that the book ends in a major cliffhanger, but lucky for us, book 2, After Forever, will release almost immediately after this novel. Pick this book up for sure and make sure you grab a box of tissues and a bottle of wine. Trust me!

addseriestogoodreads

About Jasinda
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jasinda Wilder is a Michigan native with a penchant for titillating tales about sexy men and strong women. When she’s not writing, she’s probably shopping, baking, or reading. Some of her favorite authors include Nora Roberts, JR Ward, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Liliana Hart and Bella Andre. She loves to travel and some of her favorite vacations spots are Las Vegas, New York City and Toledo, Ohio. You can often find Jasinda drinking sweet red wine with frozen berries and eating a cupcake.
Jasinda is represented by Kristin Nelson of the Nelson Literary Agency.
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